suspect (adj.)

early 14c., "suspected of wrongdoing, under or open to suspicion;" mid-14c., "regarded with mistrust, liable to arouse suspicion," from Old French suspect (14c.), from Latin suspectus "suspected, regarded with suspicion or mistrust," past participle of suspicere "look up at, look upward," figuratively "look up to, admire, respect;" also "look at secretly, look askance at," hence, figuratively, "mistrust, regard with suspicion." This is from assimilated form of sub "up to" (see sub-) + specere "to look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). The notion behind the word is "look at secretly," hence, "look at distrustfully." Related: Suspectly.

suspect (n.)

"a suspected person, one imagined on more or less evidence to have committed a crime or offense," 1590s, from suspect (adj.). Earlier as a noun it meant "a suspicion, mistrust" (late 14c.), especially in have (or hold) in suspect "be suspicious of."

suspect (v.)

mid-15c., "imagine (someone) to be guilty on slight or no proof; hold to be uncertain, doubt, mistrust," from suspect (adj.) and in part from French suspecter or directly from Latin suspectare "to mistrust," frequentative of suspicere. As "imagine to exist, fancy as possible or likely," by 1540s. Related: Suspecting.

updated on September 07, 2022